Halloween has over the years morphed from a night when kids got dressed up as cute ghosts, pirates and goblins into something else entirely: a monster party night for young adults and others. While there's nothing wrong with a good time, of course, virtually everything can go wrong when the revelry includes alcohol and driving.
For New York City drivers and pedestrians, this Friday night is one that calls for extra caution when you're out and about, for there will almost certainly be drunk driving accidents resulting in needless injuries and fatalities.
The federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that 23 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night involved drunken drivers.
The NHTSA also notes that in 2012, 48 percent of all traffic fatalities on Halloween night that year occurred in a motor vehicle crash that involved an intoxicated driver. Half of those drunk drivers were males between the ages of 18 and 34 years old. That year, Halloween fell on a Wednesday night.
Many law enforcement officials across the nation believe that this year's Friday-night Halloween will involve a substantial increase in drunken drivers, many of whom will be college students and other young adults.
A company that manufactures alcohol monitoring systems that courts order DUI offenders to wear 24/7 notes that its devices register drinking violations among 17 percent of the device-wearers on a typical Halloween night. When Halloween falls on a Friday, the figure jumps to 41 percent.
Harris Polls have in the past measured which nights of the year are the biggest drinking events of the year for college freshmen. These will likely not come as a surprise to most readers: New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day and Halloween.
The statistics and message are hopefully clear: be careful this Friday night. Parents of trick-or-treaters, please be especially careful with your children.
Source: Scramsystems.com, "The Scary Truth about Halloween and Drinking," accessed Oct. 27, 2014